Sunday, August 2, 2020

False Evidence Appearing Real

                                                         Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay 

F.E.A.R.: False Evidence Appearing Real

Fear is a natural reaction to a present threat. It helps us protect ourselves from present danger. It is when the danger isn't present but is anticipated that can keep us stuck, prevent us from moving forward.

Check out this article bEd and Deb Shapiro

Overcoming-f-e-a-r-false-evidence-appearing-real from AWAKEN.

Don't let these fears keep you frozen, unable to move through them. We can't afford to let fear win.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Fear: I See It Everywhere


The only way to diminish all the anger and violence is to reduce the fear. Anger or pain are the most common causes of fear.

People feel angry when they fear losing something important to them, or when they are in pain. Remember the last time you stubbed your toe or hit your finger with the hammer? What word did you say - or at least want to say?

So, we see a lot of anger and violence, and we seem to have trouble understanding why. It is because of all the fear and pain (including emotional pain) people are experiencing.

People are afraid to wear masks because they think they will lose their right to choose more than they fear the Covid 19 virus. They tell themselves that they wouldn't die of it, and usually don't consider that they might have permanent organ damage from it.

People are in pain from losing jobs, income, the ability to provide for their family. They are in pain from losing social interactions, from losing loved ones to Covid-19, from dealing with so many changes in their lifestyles. People fear they will lose their home, their belongings. They lose contact with their elderly family members in long term senior facilities.They fear losing their plans and dreams of their future.

People are afraid of losing things that they care about. Some of their fears are realistic - but not all. Many are based on "what ifs" that have very little chance of happening. Some are things they can prevent if they put their minds to it and ask for help. Some are things they are told or seen in the media that are just not true. The T.V. and Internet send out false information to sensationalize the information and to manipulate the public to do or not do things.

People fear themselves. Well, actually they fear learning who they are at their center. And all this time of quarantine and isolation leaves them without their usual busyness, and they are confronted with "empty time". For many, this is very scary, and they frantically fill it with TV marathons and constant time on their cell phones and internet checking out all the sensationalized posts.. Or they compulsively cook or bake and eat. Or their addictive behaviors get out of control.

Depression and anxiety increase. We hear of more and more suicides and murders.

Fear and distrust multiply when the truth and lies compete for their attention. This is why we see so much anger and violence. This is what we must confront in order to find our way of the chaos.

Start by looking within yourself. Get to know your own feelings of fear and develop a method that helps you confront your own fears. Then listen to others to learn what supports their anger or pain. 

It is only when we reduce the pain and anger, the situations that create those  feelings, that we can begin to reduce the chaos. We must provide accurate and true information and confront the false, manipulative information. We must teach ourselves and others how to deal with those fears, to confront the likelihood of the occurrence of what is feared and/or develop plans for how to prevent or deal with them if they do.

We need to take back the power of truth, honesty, integrity. It is time that we addressed the problems and not just the symptoms, the pain and fear and not just the anger and violence. Of course, we can't ignore the violence, but we must work extraordinarily hard to reduce the pain and fear that fuels it.

We must make peace in our communities and our country. We can't wait for someone else to do it. We must invest our time, energy, money in changing the experiences that cause pain and fear.

Only we can make this a better world


Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Listen to Understand



A lot going on in our country/world these days. And a lot of it is sometimes hard to understand. When we don't understand, we increase our stress, making our lives harder. Let's try to find some understanding. 

I'm learning to listen differently. Listen through a different perspective than our own. For me, I have to consider a perspective of someone younger, someone with a different income level, someone with a different childhood experience, someone with a different cultural heritage, someone with a different family experience. Those are just some of the differences that can shape what a person thinks, feels, and believes. 

And each is valid for that person. "Different" is neither good or evil. It just is. Our values are formed by our experiences throughout life. Yes, it is possible to change one's values if they aren't working for us. But not everyone knows that.

So when I listen to someone who is different, I need to consider their perspective from where they are in their life. What shaped their values? What would it be like to be, say, twenty years younger? What life events did they not experience that you did? The assassination of JFK was significant for me.Times were very different after that in our country. Assassinations of prominent people was not part of my youth before then. After that followed Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, etc. A different world for our country.

What would it be like to have been born into a lower or higher income family? What if our parents hadn't finished the 8th grade or had been college graduates? What if food was hard to come by, if we never knew when we'd have a full meal, if we didn't have lunch money for school? Or what if everything came to us easily, we always had whatever we wanted, never went without anything, never went without any necessity or want? Our attitude about life would be very different if everything was given to us without our struggle, or if we never had enough no matter how hard we tried.

What would it be like to be a child in a dirty backstreet alley with no toys but junk we picked up, with no grass or trees, no one at home most of the time, with violence and poverty the norm. How would that shape someone differently from someone growing up in clean, well kept neighborhoods where at least one parent was home during the day and both at home at night. Where bikes, wagons, basketballs, and dolls were the norm;Where you didn't experience violence or going without what you needed, and those things only happened on t.v.

How might you be different if your family and neighborhood were from a  different culture? Are you aware of what those differences are? Cultural histories have a great bearing on a person's values and point of view. What if your grandparents had been interred in camps because of theire nationality? What if your parents didn't have access to the jobs or education thay wanted because of their nationality? What if you were ridiculed and bullied in school because of your heritage? How would you see the world differently?

What if you grew up in a very different kind of family? Maybe you didn't experience a two-parent family, that that wasn't the norm when you were growing up. Maybe your siblings each had different fathers that came and went in your lives. What if you grew up with a parent that was drug addicted? What if you were removed from your home by community services and then bounced around in foster care. Or what if you were raised by your grandmother of aunt because your parents were absent for any variety of reasons? What if your mother was abused by your father or other men in your life? What would your beliefs about family, about women, about marriage, about all of that be later in your life? How would you see the world differently?

When you listen to learn these things about others, it is easier tu understand them, the things they do and say. You can begin to see things from other perspectives and can open your mind to the differences in people's experiences.

But in order to do that, you have to connect with people who are different, people you don't understand, and have meaningful conversations. You need to listen in a different way than when you listen with the intent to disagree and convince them their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are wrong. Acknowledge the differences and look for common ground. You will find you are more alike than different and that there are many things you have in common.

Listen, and come together to make a better world.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Remember When Computers First Became Popular for Homes?



                                               Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay 

Computers were supposed to make life easier. And we were told to look forward to a paperless society. Do you remember that? You are probably too young. Most folks have lived their whole lives with computers as part of their normalcy.

But I remember our first computer. It wasn't even on line. The internet wasn't for personal use yet. Basically it was a word processor that soon went to online use, email and for academic research mostly. It made library research much easier.

And paper was on these connected pages that rolled through sprockets on your printer. The printer was louder, too. But we really didn't print that much then.

Then came the Internet and faster computers and more ways to use them. We are now to the place of information overload. With social media and digital news sites we can spend days learning new things, or playing computer games. FaceBook has half the world on line at any given time.

So, has it made your life easier? Not mine. I've had to learn new languages, techno speak, interpreting error messages, finding the correct web links, keeping up with email.

EMAIL! Currently I'm changing email providers. Have you ever done that? Argh. What a process to get old address books to new inbox. Letting everyone know your new address, including the sites you log into. I'm ready to go back to a paper address book! Lots easier to copy into a new one.

In the process I'm also unsubscribing from a lot of junk mail that comes my way. That's a good thing, just time consuming, especially not each site has the same link to do it. And some of them require more than just a click on a link to make the cancellation. They really don't want you to go!

And, about that paperless society? Before you had a computer, did you ever buy paper by the ream? Crazy. Now, I guess since the coming of iPhones, etc., lots of those things I print to take to the store or blood drive can be done with a scan of the phone. I'm just not there yet.

I've been dragging my feet about getting an iPhone. But it is getting to be that there are things you can only do with a cellphone. So we are shopping for one now. Sometime down the road I'll probably have a blog about that whole experience.

In the meantime, enjoy your easier life with less paper.

                                                                  Image by Ag Ku from Pixabay 


Sunday, July 5, 2020

It's Just Too Much

                                                     Image by MaƂgorzata Tomczak from Pixabay 

These days it is just too much to handle. My brain feels like it might explode. So many conflicting thoughts. So much conflict. And with the fireworks, I feel like it is an actual war zone.

The quarantine fatigue, the crisis fatigue, and political fatigue pile up. At the end of the day I'm wiped out. Am I the only one? 

I'm sure that for me it is magnified by my sense of helplessness, because of my age and physical limitations, to participate in the causes I believe in. Makes it harder. And all the family challenges we've had lately take a toll on emotional energy.

I often play games on the computer as a way to escape it all. I also crochet and watch mindless television in the evenings when I'm too tired to do anything else. I communicate with family and friends, I'm still quarantining, you see. 

And sometimes writing this blog is a way for me to let off a little steam. I don't know who, or if anyone, reads it. But writing itself helps. Sometimes I focus on the issues and sometimes I focus on special topics. Either way I am focusing on something beyond myself.

I hope you are staying safe: keeping social distance, wearing a mask, washing your hands. The virus is not a trivial thing. If you read last week's blog you know why I am sure of that.

Care about others enough to wear that mask when you are around other people than those you live with. Stay home as much as you can. We have to stop the virus from spreading and killing more and more people. If we don't, we kill our country. 

Yep. Plain and simple, that is the outcome of our not paying attention to the science, of not caring for each other enough to stop the spread.

So respect and care about each other. Make this a better world with just those small things to do. We are in this together. Do your part.


Questions:

What is it like for you these days to live in the midst of all this? 

What are you doing to stay sane? How do you deal with the emotional fatigue?

I'd like to write about what others are curious about. Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Ruth Was More Than A Number

The Only R-word in Our Dictionary is RESPECT | Mary Ellen ...

When you see the number of persons in the U.S. who have died of Covid-19 in the posted statistics, what do you actually see? 

Really. What DO you see? Do you see people or just numbers. Numbers aren't very real, are they? They are easy to dismiss. But what about Ruth?

Ruth was my mother-in-law. She died of Covid-19. We buried her Friday. And, because of the pandemic, it was a rather surreal experience. But she is definitely dead. And we all are grieving her death. And she is only one of those hundreds of thousands of other people who have died from the virus that so many think is no big deal.

Ruth was a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. She had cared for her family, taught school, volunteered, was active in her community as long as she was able. She had friends she had stayed in contact with for decades. She would help anyone with anything. She had respect for others, for her country, for her heritage. She was more than a number.

As are each of those others in the "deceased from Covid-19" statistics.

And there are also the people, not in that statistic, who "recovered" with permanent damage to vital organs. They know Covid-19 is a big deal.

I am so offended when I see people not wearing masks and gathering in large groups without distancing  indoors, people who don't think they will get the virus, and even if they do, they won't have a bad case. I am so offended by people who think it is "not a big deal", and therefore don't have to wear a mask..

Maybe they won't get the virus. But they could easily pass it to someone else. And that someone else might have underlying health issues that make it more likely for the virus to take their life or cause permanent damage.

Now, I don't get offended easily. But when people are unwilling to wear a mask to protect those of us that are at high risk for fatal or life threatening cases of the virus, I get offended, feel disrespected. Why are so many people unwilling to care about other people, about their community, or even about whether the spike in cases might close the economy again? It boggles my mind.

A mask is an inconvenience. I don't enjoy wearing one either. But I do. We don't seem to have a problem wearing seat belts, which I find more uncomfortable than the mask. 

We are willing to obey traffic laws, at least most of the time. Why not wear a mask when out in public? 

Most of us respect property lines, we don't trample other peoples plants, we even say "excuse me" if we accidently bump into someone. Respect for others! Why not respect the health of others by wearing a mask?

What has happened to respect for others? How would you feel if you knew that someone died because YOU didn't wear a mask?

S.C. Gov. McMaster says mask requirement unenforceable

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The More You Know, The More You Can Understand




We seem to be seeing a wave or empathy moving through our country. Why now? Why not in all the years before the death of yet another black man?

Empathy is the ability to share and understand each other's experiences. We think of it as an innate trait. But it is really a skill. The correct experiences, habits and practices can increase empathic capacity. The more it is exercised the stronger it becomes. On the other hand, other experiences can cause empathy to atrophy, like a muscle that is unused.

Seeing a police officer kneel on the neck of a man for more than 8 minutes, even after he had obviously lost consciousness, shocked the nation when the video went viral. The officers' obvious lack of concern for the life of a man who was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill was an experience that gave us clear knowledge of the black experience. The ability to share that experience helped us understand what we had ignored for so long.

Researchers have found that power and privilege sap our ability to understand others. Psychologist Michael Kraus and his colleagues measured people's socio-economic status and their ability to decipher emotions in pictures and in-person interactions. They found that people higher in status were less accurate about other people's feelings. And more recent work has replicated these results and also found that high-status people make more errors when trying to take another's perspective.

Empathy is a skill that we need to make the world better. When we know and better understand others, the more we can create peace, inclusivity, collaboration, etc. 

So, if you are someone who wants to make the world better, you need to create experiences where you can get to know people who are different from you in some way, so that you can understand them and know what they are about, what they need or want. Practice listening to others without trying to shape what they say or think. Make a habit of connecting with more people to learn more about them and their lives. 

This is especially important if you are in a leadership role. You will make much better decisions as a result. 

Make this the Empathy Era. 


 (from "Calls for racial justice gained steam with empathy" by Jamil Jaki),

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay